Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is proposing to inject every eligible American with Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine boosters every six months. He shared this idea during a recent interview with the ABC program “This Week.”
“We would hope – and this is something we are looking at very carefully – that the third [mRNA vaccine] shot … not only will boost you way up, but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months or a year,” he said.
“We’re hoping it pushes out more. If it doesn’t and the data show we do need it more often, then we’ll do it.”
Fauci expressed the same sentiment toward booster shots when he spoke to Business Insider. “Make it really simple: If you had a primary vaccination, get a booster. Right now, don’t make it complicated,” he said.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director expressed hope that booster shots for all adult Americans will help keep people away from hospitalizations and deaths caused by COVID-19. “The effect of [injecting boosters] is very, very favorable to preventing people from getting infected,” he said.
“We have got to get almost everybody who’s gotten the primary vaccination regimen … to get them all boosted. Even though for the most part, the vaccines absent the boost protect quite well – particularly among younger people – against hospitalization.”
However, Fauci’s remarks conflicted with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The public health agency only recommended booster doses for adults aged 50 and above and long-term care residents aged 18 and up.
The CDC said other Americans who do not fall under the two categories may get their booster shots “based on their individual risks and benefits.”
Fauci redefines the term “fully vaccinated”
Back in September, Fauci argued that two vaccine doses will no longer suffice for full vaccination. He said during a White House briefing that month that three COVID-19 vaccine doses would be the standard for fully vaccinated individuals.
“I would not at all be surprised that the adequate, full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses,” Fauci said. He continued that the protection from COVID-19 after a third booster dose was “dramatic” and “durable.”
The NIAID director presented data from Israel about the vaccine’s waning protection after eight months. Despite the Middle Eastern country managing to vaccinate the majority of its population, the more transmissible B16172 delta variant caused a spike in so-called breakthrough infections among vaccinated Israelis.
In response, Israel started injecting older individuals with booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine on July 30. Fauci said the effects of the booster shot injection campaign included “a greater than tenfold decrease in the relative risk of both confirmed infection and severe disease.” This finding “supported the rationale for COVID-19 booster shots” in the U.S., he added.
“I would hope that the countries that are boosting their populations similar to what we are understand the importance of the global necessity to essentially suppress this at the global level,” Fauci remarked.
At least one other world leader followed Fauci’s footsteps in redefining the term “fully vaccinated” as having received three COVID-19 vaccine shots. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a press briefing that U.K. residents will definitely need a booster dose.
“On boosters, it’s very clear that getting three jabs … will become an important fact. It will make life easier for your in all sorts of ways, and we will have to adjust our concept of what constitutes a full vaccination to take account of that,” Johnson said.
“As we can see from what’s happening, the two [vaccine doses] sadly do start to wane, so we’ve got to be responsible and … reflect that fact in the way we measure what constitutes full vaccination.”
The prime minister also called on British citizens to get their booster doses as soon as they are eligible. Johnson said: “It would be an utter tragedy if, after everything we have been through, people who had done the right thing by getting double-vaccinated ended up being seriously ill or even losing their lives because they allowed their immunity to wane.”